Does Velveeta Cheese Go Bad?

For many people, when they hear the words “casserole” or “melted cheese,” the first thing they think about is Velveeta cheese. But if you’re not one of them and just bought a pack, the question “does Velveeta cheese go bad?” is a perfectly legitimate one.

While Velveeta technically is a processed cheese product, not a cheese per se, most people are used to simply calling is cheese. And if it’s your first time buying it, you might wonder how long does it last after opening, or what’s the best way to store it.

In either case, if you have any questions regarding storage, shelf life, and going bad of Velveeta cheese, this article is for you. Read along.

Velveeta original package
Image used under Creative Commons from Mike Mozart

How to Store Velveeta Cheese

Unlike “real” cheeses, such as Parmesan or Brie, an unopened pack of this cheese product made by Kraft Foods doesn’t require refrigeration. It’s often sold in blocks or slices and since it’s shelf-stable, you can find it in the not-refrigerated section in the supermarket.

Once you bring it home, storing it at room temperature is perfectly fine. Just make sure it sits in a dry place away from any heat sources. You want to melt it yourself when you’re making that cheese dip or sauce, not find it partially dissolved in the package.

Once you open the package, refrigerate the leftovers. The most important thing when it comes to chilling Velveeta in the fridge is to seal it tightly, so it doesn’t dry out and harden. Plus a good seal keeps any strong odors from the refrigerator at bay. If you can’t seal the original packaging tightly, an airtight container or a freezer bag will do the job.

Even though Velveeta has a quite long shelf life, you might find yourself with too much to use at a time and thinking about freezing. Well, the producer doesn’s recommend freezing their cheese product. They list change of texture and breakdown of ingredients as possible results of freezing. Nevertheless, if you can either toss it out or freeze it, I’d go with the latter. If you do it well, the changes shouldn’t be that severe. And you should be able to to make those grilled sandwiches or mac and cheese with it after all.

When it comes to freezing Velveeta, start by removing the product from its original wrapping. Then wrap it with aluminum foil, cling wrap, or plastic wrap. If you expect the cheese to sit in the freezer for a long time, double wrap it. Then transfer the wrapped Velveeta in a freezer bag, squeeze out the air, and seal it tight. Thaw this Kraft Foods’ product in the fridge overnight.

Velveeta Slices
Image used under Creative Commons from Mike Mozart

How Long Does Velveeta Cheese Last

Velveeta cheese is a processed cheese product with some preservatives, so it has a long shelf life. It usually keeps quality for about 6 months unopened after the production date, but it’s always better to look for the “use-by” date on the package. Obviously, because of the preservative content, the product will easily last a few weeks past that date in good quality.

Once you open the package, Velveeta cheese retains quality for about 8 weeks. Or at least it does at the time of writing this article. You can find that period on the label, so it’s easily accessible.

PantryFridge
Velveeta cheese (unopened)Use-by + 2 – 3 weeks
Velveeta cheese (opened)8 weeks

Please note the periods above are estimates only.

How to Tell if Velveeta Cheese Has Gone Bad

If you see any signs of mold, just throw it out. When fresh, Velveeta cheese has a creamy, pale yellow color and a soft, almost mushy consistency. Changes in its color, smell, flavor, and appearance could be a sign that the product has spoiled. So if that’s the case, it’s best to get rid of the Velveeta. Same thing if you store the cheese for way longer than the estimates above. While it still might be okay, in this case, it’s better to err on the side of caution.

If, however, the cheese is looking a little dried out, cut out the dried-out bits. And make sure it’s tightly sealed, as the dry parts are usually caused by poor storage practices.